Even though we’re coming upon the last unofficial weekend of summer, I’m not ready to say goodbye to it just yet! Let’s linger a little longer with Rachel and Tim’s DIY camp wedding at YMCA Camp Campbell…
With so many guests coming from out of town, Rachel and Tim chose a venue that allowed all of the guests to stay on site. Camp activities like archery and tree climbing set the tone for a playful and unique wedding.
Rachel’s bouquet was just one of many DIY details from the day: “So many people pitched in that the whole weekend just felt completely filled with love. My aunt and grandma did the flowers. An amazing friend made all the cupcakes. Another sculpted the cake toppers. My grandpa took video. Another grandma helped cover the candles in comic book scenes. An uncle and cousins manned the barbecue for the welcome dinner, and another friend picked up the day-of planner duties. The garlands were made by Tim’s sister, all the triangles and circles on the table were cut by hand by the family. My dad spent hours making these perfect gold circles that we sprinkled on the dessert table, and my mom helped with just about everything else. So as we were walking around during the weekend, we were not only surrounded by our friends and family, but every little detail felt like a present from someone we love. We were smiling the entire weekend.”
“We had a friend officiate. He was amazing. To help him prepare, we each filled out a questionnaire (provided by another friend and frequent wedding officiant) that covered our backstory, feelings about marriage, and family,” share Rachel and Tim. “We also gave him a list of things that we wanted to include in the ceremony — how happy we were to get married in a state with marriage equality, how California would always be important to us (we recently moved to New York), and a shout out to friends and family that couldn’t be there — but we left it up to him to decide how to weave them in. It was funny and personal and expertly delivered.”
Your ceremony in three words. Non-traditional, Personal, Outdoorsy.
Anything else? We wrote our own vows. We set a word count and both wrote them last minute. We had a good friend read both sets before hand just to make sure that we were on the same page. It worked out! Also, I really wanted a reading, but I couldn’t find a single passage that seemed personal enough. Two days before the ceremony, a good friend asked how we’d feel if she read excerpts from “Oh, the places you’ll go.” It was so awesome. I had been looking for passages about love or family, and instead she gave us this wonderful send off into married life. It was perfect.
“We really wanted to find a place where our friends and family could hang out for the weekend,” say Rachel and Tim. “We knew a lot of people would have to fly in to attend, and we wanted to try to get as much time as we could with all of them. (And we secretly hoped they would all become friends.) At some point, the camp counselors started dancing with the guests and the photographers were hanging with my parents. Everyone looked like they were having a good time.”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Because the wedding was going to be at a YMCA camp, we researched a lot of camp themes. We looked at a lot of merit badges, neckerchiefs, troop numbers, that sort of thing. We also liked bold colors and strong shapes.
Please tell us about any special details from your wedding. Well, Tim is a big comic book fan, so we wanted to include some things from that world. We settled on creating votive holders decorated with iconic comic book wedding scenes. We also combined our love of science with Tim’s love of candy and filled test tubes with Nerds candies. A friend also sculpted our cake topper, which were modeled after the main characters in the iPad game “Machinarium.” It was a favorite iPad game of ours while we were dating. // We also framed photos of our parents and grandparents at their weddings and put them next to our guest books. I really liked seeing the history of our family in weddings. I like that we’re now a part of that history.
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? The best tradition that was handed down to us was to make the wedding our own and to do what feels right to us.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Some variation on “don’t sweat the small stuff.” Sure, worry about the details before hand, but on the day, step back and just enjoy the people around you.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Make spreadsheets. Lots and lots of spreadsheets. And then double check them.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? If you can put your family to work, DIY is a great way to go. We made a few things ourselves, but we mostly decided what we wanted and then put our parents/grandparents/friends/siblings to work. (They were all anxious to help.)
First Dance Song: Up on the Roof by The Drifters